Great science fiction can widen our horizons, and challenge our assumptions about space, time, and humanity. Movies in particular allow the wonder and imagination of sci-fi storytelling to take flight. By combining dynamic, breathtaking visuals with imaginative storylines, science fiction films can be truly transportive—even if you're just streaming at home from the comfort of your couch.
Check out our recommendations below for 24 of the best sci-fi movies on Netflix right now. From the horrific to the heartwarming, these sci-fi flicks dare to reimagine life as we know it, and feature everything from old-school classics to recent blockbusters. Grab some popcorn and get ready for adventure: These are the movies you need to stream this month.
This post will be updated monthly to reflect changes to streaming.
V for Vendetta
Based on Alan Moore and David Lloyd's DC Comics Vertigo series, this 2005 movie is set in a near-future dystopia where political dissent is deadly. Genocide and plague are a constant threat. Enter the mysterious V (played by Hugo Weaving) a rebel in a Guy Fawkes mask who isn't afraid to use violent tactics against his oppressors. When V rescues Evey (Natalie Portman) from being picked up by the secret police, she becomes embroiled in his radical plot to incite revolt among the London populace by Guy Fawkes day. Directed by the Wachowski Sisters, V for Vendetta is one movie you'll be sure to remember, remember on the fifth of November.
The Wandering Earth
This 2019 Chinese film is an adaptation of the novella of the same name by Cixin Liu, author of the acclaimed Remembrance of Earth's Past series. Netflix now has global streaming rights to The Wandering Earth, which broke major box office records when it premiered in China earlier this year. The film follows a mission to move Earth out of our solar system and into the Alpha Centauri system, before the Sun completes its transformation into a Red Star and destroys the last remnants of human civilization. After 17 years, the operation is approaching successful completion when a disaster near Jupiter imperils the astronauts — and everyone left alive on Earth. You can see a trailer for the celebrated sci-fi epic below.
The Fifth Element
This Luc Besson classic follows Korben Dallas (Bruce Willis), a special-forces-op-turned-cab-driver in the 23rd century. Leeloo (Milla Jovovich) is the fifth element: a super-powerful humanoid female formed from the sole surviving particles discovered in a crashed alien spaceship. When Leeloo lands suddenly in Korben's cab, the unlikely duo are thrown into a desperate, madcap race to save Earth.
A Clockwork Orange
This classic 1972 Stanley Kubrick film is based on the novel of the same name by Anthony Burgess. Set in near-future dystopian London, it follows a gang of violent delinquents called droods, led by Alex (Malcolm McDowell), a charming but violent young man. After a night of ultra-violence while hopped up on milk-plus, Alex is imprisoned, but accepts a deal that will earn him his freedom if he agrees to experiment in a controversial new aversion therapy called Ludovico.
The third movie from District 9 director Neill Blomkamp, Chappie is set in a near-future dystopian South Africa. Order in Johannesburg is maintained by an army of human-like droids, but their creator Deon (Dev Patel) longs to build an artificial intelligence capable of more than tactical violence. Using the parts of a police droid damaged in the line of duty, Deon experiments with a new artificial consciousness that could allow droids to emulate human intuition and emotions.
Given that intriguing plot and the success of Blomkamp's first feature, expectations were high for Chappie, and the movie by and large doesn't live up to them. However, if you're a fan of District 9 or if you're interested in the ethics of robotics and the questions surrounding artificial intelligence, it's certainly worth a watch at home.
Under the Skin
This unforgettable alien abduction story from Sexy Beast director Jonathan Glazer stars Scarlett Johansson as 'The Female,' an enigmatic alien in human form who travels Scotland in a minivan, seducing men and then imprisoning them in a black void. When not meeting and eating men, Johansson's succubus-like alien learns throughout her road trip about the highs and lows of the human female experience. A beautifully-shot and often very emotional alien story, Sexy Beast is perfect for a night in when you want an understated sci-fi movie that will stay with you long after the final frame.
Wakanda forever! Following the sudden death of his father, King T'Chaka, Prince T'Challa (Chadwick Boseman) returns home to lead the African country of Wakanda. But his ascent to the throne is threatened by a brutal usurper: soldier Erik Stevens, known by the sinister name of Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan).
Killmonger wants to share Wakanda's secret technology with African people throughout the world. Although he makes compelling arguments against Wakanda's isolationism, Killmonger is indiscriminately violent in the name of his cause, and threatens to topple Wakanda in his quest to liberate.
This Marvel movie boasts an absolutely all-star cast, including Lupita Nyong'o, Daniel Kaluuya, Letitia Wright, Angela Bassett, and Forest Whitaker. Stream it tonight and see why this tour-de-force was such a record-smashing success.
This Award-winning 2014 film was the directorial debut of Alex Garland, who went on to direct the adaptation of Jeff VanderMeer's Annihilation. Ex Machina follows the relationship between Caleb (Domhnall Gleeson), a programmer working for an equivalent of Google, and Ava (Alicia Vikander), a female humanoid robot who has passed a Turing test. During Caleb's visit to the home of mysterious billionaire Nathan Bateman (Oscar Isaac), Caleb and Ava begin to develop feelings for each other, and she shares her desire with him to explore the world outside the mansion.
Solo: A Star Wars Story
Disney's second Star Wars anthology film, Solo: A Star Wars Story, had a famously troubled production, and ultimately became the first Star Wars Disney movie to lose money. Regardless, Solo is still worth streaming if only for Donald Glover's ridiculously charming personification of young Lando Calrissian. The story follows young Han Solo (Alden Ehrenreich) as he escapes his miserable life on Corellia, flunks out of Imperial Flight Academy, and ultimately talks his way into a gang of thieves intent on stealing a shipment from brutal crime boss Dryden Vos. Along the way, Han meets Lando, reunites with his long-lost lover Qi'ra (Emilia Clarke), and plays a historic game of sabacc.
A.I.: Artificial Intelligence
This 2001 Steven Spielberg movie was loosely inspired by Brian W. Aldiss' sci-fi short story "Supertoys Last All Summer Long." Set in a near-future in which climate change has drastically reduced the human population and forced mass migration, A.I.: Artificial Intelligence follows what happens when a couple with a terminally ill son, Martin (Jake Thomas), are given a young male Mecha robot named David (Haley Joel Osment). When Martin makes an unexpected recovery and returns home, he grows jealous of David and sows discord between the mecha and his parents. A bleak but moving story about what it means to love during humanity's final age, this is one of Spielberg's most under-appreciated films.
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
This 2005 adaptation of Douglas Adams' sci-fi book series fails to totally capture the charm of the source material. But don't panic! It's still a fun watch that is a great introduction to the Hitchhiker's Guide universe for anyone who's not yet familiar with the genius of the late sci-fi author.
The movie follows Arthur Dent (Martin Freeman). On the day Earth is destroyed, Arthur is narrowly rescued from certain death by his friend Ford (Mos Def). Ford, it turns out, is an alien reported who was living undercover on Earth while writing a guide to galactic hitchhiking. Now that Earth has been destroyed by the Vogons, Martin and fellow Earthling Trillian (Zooey Deschanel) must rely on Ford's teachings—and their trusty towels—to survive.
The Dark Knight
The second film in Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight trilogy, The Dark Knight is still as gripping and novel as when it first hit theaters in 2008. Featuring a legendary performance by Heath Ledger as the Joker — one of the final roles the actor filmed before his untimely death — this installment features Christian Bale's Batman transforming from caped crusader to a grieving and darker isolated vigilante.
Not the first movie on this list about a man following in love with a female-coded computer, Spike Jonze's Her is nonetheless an original look at humanity's complex relationship with AI. It follows Theodore Twombly (Joaquin Pheonix), a lonely man in near-future Los Angeles who is heartbroken and cynical over his impending divorce. Theodore opens up about his heartbreak to the female virtual assistant for the new operating system on his phone, whom he has named Samantha (voiced by Scarlett Johansson). Although he's self-conscious about the strong feelings he has for an AI, Theodore finds it increasingly difficult to connect with human romantic prospects as he and Samantha continue to build a connection that feels important and unique for both of them.
Based on Josh Malerman's book of the same name, this tense post-apocalyptic movie stars Sandra Bullock as Marjorie, a woman leading two children—referred to as 'boy' and 'girl'—on a harrowing journey to safety. Five years prior, Marjorie was pregnant with her first child when the world around her descended into total chaos. Mass suicides caused by mysterious creatures that are deadly to look at led to the collapse of society. During the initial chaos, Marjorie found refuge in a house with covered windows. But her temporary home can't shelter her forever. Spurred on by rumors of a safe community further along the river, Marjorie and the two children begin a dangerous journey in which they must travel blind through an unfamiliar world.
Avengers: Infinity War
The most epic and emotionally compromising movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe to date, 2018's Avengers: Infinity War was the culmination of 10 years of MCU movies. The massive-in-scope film sees the Avengers, the Guardians of the Galaxy, and other heroes facing off against Thanos (Josh Brolin). Thanos is determined to wield the complete Infinity Gauntlet, which will give him unfathomable power over life throughout the universe. Stream this sobering superhero movie on Netflix, and be more than ready for when the MCU prequel film Captain Marvel—which looks to be a lot less depressing—epremieres in March.
This cult classic combines hard sci-fi with existential horror, and the result is truly unforgettable. The year is 2035. Sam Bell (Sam Rockwell) is in the home stretch of a three-year solitary mining job on the dark side of the Moon, funded by Lunar Industries. Communication with Earth is spotty, and Sam is eager to return home to his wife and daughter and finally have some company besides GERTY, the lunar base's artificial intelligence (voiced by Kevin Spacey). But as the end of Sam's mission approaches, he begins to hallucinate, which leads him to injure himself in a lunar rover crash. When Sam regains consciousness, he's back inside the base, and GERTY advises him to await a rescue mission. Sam is suspicious, and begins to uncover truths about Lunar Industries that are truly unsettling.
This Marvel movie is part sci-fi, part fantasy, and all fun. Director Taika Waititi—also known for his work on comedy projects like Flight of the Concords and What We Do in the Shadows—breathes new life into the God of Thunder with this irreverent, colorful addition to the MCU.
After the death of Odin (Anthony Hopkins), Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and his villainous brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston) must face down their older sister Hela (a stunning Cate Blanchett) to prevent Asgard from total ruin. Tessa Thompson steals the show as Valkyrie, a former Asgardian warrior who now captures slaves for the Grandmaster of Sakaar (Jeff Goldblum) to fund her drinking.
The Last Jedi
The most recent—and controversial—installment in the Star Wars episodic films, The Last Jedi is a gorgeous, gripping addition to the Skywalker saga.
As Rey (Daisy Ridley) begins her Jedi training on the isolated planet of Ahch-To under the unwilling eye of a disillusioned Luke (Mark Hamill), the movie challenges the tropes Star Wars fans have come to expect from the galaxy far, far away. In doing so, director Rian Johnson opens up a new universe of possibilities about what the Force can be, and who gets to wield it.
If, to paraphrase Kylo Ren (Adam Driver), you can let some of your preconceived notions about Star Wars go, The Last Jedi is a breathtaking and groundbreaking ride—and it features possibly the greatest fight scene in the history of the franchise.
A Netflix original, this Australian zombie movie is a smart addition to the genre that will thrill fans of The Girl With All the Gifts or Train to Busan. Andy (Martin Freeman) and his wife are attempting to outrun a zombie pandemic via boat. But when disaster strikes, Andy must make a grueling, days-long trek across the outback in order to bring his infant daughter to safety. Andy's odyssey coincides with the journey of Thoomi (Simond Landers), an aboriginal tribe member whose father has recently been infected.
To say much more about the plot risks spoiling some of Cargo's appeal. Suffice to say, if you're a fan of zombie movies that delve into the emotional weight of an outbreak, you'll love this tense, unique addition to the genre.
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This compelling movie is set in a dystopian world in which single people must find a partner within a 45-day window, or else be turned into an animal of their choosing. David (Colin Farrell) is newly divorced. After the breakup, he is sent to a decadent hotel by the sea, and begins his hunt for a new mate. Single people are taught to seek out partners with whom they have something in common, such as a physical trait like a limp. Should he fail in his search, David—whose brother has already been turned into a dog—will be transformed into a lobster. In between desperately searching for a new partner, guests at the hotel also have the option of recreationally hunting the single people who live in the woods behind the hotel. In a race against time, David—who is shortsighted—attempts to forge a relationship with a shortsighted woman (Rachel Weisz).
Heralded by critics as Netflix’s first great film and from the mind of Snowpiercer’s Joon-ho Bong, this emotionally wrenching drama doubles as an environmental morality tale. Okja is a thoughtful, visually awing, and perpetually relevant criticism of our food systems that’s delivered through a relationship between genetically modified pig Okja and her young owner. Forewarning: watching will probably make you experience every emotion ever.
A Netflix original from Moon director Duncan Jones, Mute is a cyberpunk mystery set in future Berlin. Alexander Skarsgard stars as Leo, a bartender whose throat was damaged in a childhood accident. Leo is intent on finding Naadirah (Seyneb Saleh), his missing partner, and he'll comb through as much of the seedy underbelly of the high-tech city as he needs to do so.
Jones has described Mute as a "spiritual successor" to Moon, but unfortunately the new film isn't as smart or emotionally affecting as its predecessor. Still, it's worth a watch if only for the undeniably impressive, Blade Runner-reminiscent visuals.
Is Aeon Flux a 'good' movie, in the traditional sense of the word? Sadly, no. But if you're in the mood for sci-fi that's silly but flashy, it's worth watching if only to remember that Charlize Theron showed everyone she could kick butt long before she played a deadly spy in 2017's Atomic Blonde.
Based on an animated TV series from the early '90s, Aeon Flux is set in 2145. In 2011, a plague eradicated much of humanity; the survivors live in Bregna, a city-state governed by scientists. Theron stars as Æon Flux, a member of the Monicans, a group of telepathically linked rebels ostensibly working to bring down Bregna's leaders.
It's a pity the movie doesn't have more to offer, given the talent of its star and its director, Karyn Kusama (Girl Fight, Jennifer's Body, The Invitation). But if you want an evening of stupid sci-fi fun, a visit to Bregna might be just what the dystopian doctor ordered.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
The Guardians of the Galaxy are back, and they're bigger a-holes than ever. In this sequel to 2014's Guardians of the Galaxy, families reunite, with cataclysmic consequences. Star-Lord (Chris Pratt) finally meets his father, but the reunion is stranger than he could have anticipated. Meanwhile, the feud between Gamora (Zoe Saldana) and Nebula (Karen Gillan) comes to a violent head.
Featured still from "The Wandering Earth" via Netflix